Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Incredible Hulk

The "Incredible Hulk" arrives with some baggage. It is not a sequel to Ang Lee's fine film, but a "redo." One could derive the rest of this review by simply deconstructing that sentence, but I'll elaborate. Let's pretend the baggage doesn't exist.
Starting there, the Incredible Hulk impresses. Origins are dealt with quickly in the title sequence, but it will be awhile before we see the Hulk big and green. Norton does a fine job with the human Banner half of the Hulk, though I would not say that he has channeled Bill Bixby -- the TV Hulk -- which was part of the intent. This human half Hulk has more in common with the "The Ultimates" Hulk, a more rounded, less sympathetic portrayal.
Tim Roth impresses before the CGI takes him out of the picture. William Hurt does a less blustering more tortured General Ross than the comics I remember, but he is a delight to watch. The action sequences are fine green eye candy. A couple of them are inventive, and there is some nice "Parkour" chase stuff sprinkled throughout.
However -- this Hulk is not even 25% better than Ang Lee's, and that is the line I drew in the sand. Remakes -- like "Batman Begins" and "Casino Royale" must exceed what has come before, particularly when they start with the stated -- we can do better. "Batman Begins" did it, "Casino Royale" did too, for it's Bond audience.
Go to this one if you didn't like Ang Lee's, enjoy your Hulk Smash -- otherwise go to Hancock!

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